Posts tagged Manila
Posts tagged Manila
After I had spent an absolutely lovely week with my Mama in Singapore, filled with sightseeing, good food and shopping, I got myself to Changi Budget Terminal and on a plane to Manila. Already in the cab from the airport to our hostel, Manila’s poverty hit me in the face. Shoe-less, skinny kids were running from car to car, cab to cab stuck in one of the many traffic jams, begging for money. The moment the car slowed down, the cabdriver locked all doors from the inside. Security is taken seriously in Manila - but only for and by the wealthy and the tourists. Due to semi-recent terrorist attacks you have to go through a security check every time you enter a train station, every time you enter a mall. I have to say though that the many security men with their huge guns made me feel less, rather than more, safe.
Till and I got quite lucky - not only was our hostel clean and spacious, but it had also opened just two months earlier and on our first night they had a big welcome buffet. Wanting to safe Intramuros (‘within the walls’, Manila’s old city) for when Simon and Jan arrived, Till set out to explore other parts of Manila. On our way to the University of Santo Tomas, Asia’s oldest university founded in 1611 by some archbishop, we encountered a rooster fight in the middle of the street. Around twenty men were cheering for either one of the roosters. If a rooster fight in the middle of the street of a big city seems crazy to you I probably forgot to mention that Manila is chaotic, smelly, dirty, poor and ugly. The scene was admittedly a bit absurd, but it seemed to fit into the overall picture I got of Manila that day. The university campus on the other hand was lovely - at first the security guy at the main gate wouldn’t let us in, but after two pretty Filipino girls talked to him for a while, he just nodded and let us through. I guess there is not much to say about a uni campus but two things did strike me as interesting. The first being university students wearing a school uniform and the second, the amount of dancing that was taking place all over campus. Multiple groups of students, both boys and girls, were doing MTV-style-video-clip-streetdancing everywhere.
But my favourite moment that day was when Till jumped into the ‘Women only’ coach of the train going back to the hostel. Everyone stared. I couldn’t stop laughing. You already get a lot of attention as a foreigner in Manila (Walking through the streets I could hear ‘Hello Ma’am’ ‘Hello. Country?’ or, my favorite ‘What’s up Ma’am’ from all directions) , but those were definitely Till’s 5 minutes of fame.
The day Simon and Till arrived from Vietnam was also the day I started developing a strong antipathy against German men. We were sitting in the Cebu Pacific office attempting to change our flights when Simon started telling us about an elderly German man who had told him about the ‘3000 women he has bought in the past year’ (10 a day? Yeah sure.). We were clearly talking quite negatively about this guy when someone sitting in front of us turns around and says: ‘Well, I haven’t had 3000, I have had 500. I got here in 2006. But you know, you have to try so many to find a good one. The first one I had got pregnant. She (!!!) didn’t use contraception. Then she died giving birth, my bad luck, eh? Then I had to go search for a new one. They all just want your money.’ Disgusting, sad, appaling, pathetic, horrible, … .
The next day, not being very enthusiastic about Manila, we decided to take a bus to Bagatay and from there a tricycle to the Taal lake. In the middle of lake is a volcanic island and within the volcano, there is another lake. I can definitely recommend going there if you are in Manila.